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Statcast Review: Trevor Story, Robbie Ray, Framber Valdez (2021 Fantasy Baseball)

by Mike Maher | @mikeMaher | Featured Writer
Aug 12, 2021
Trevor Story

Throughout this series, we’ll look at different Statcast metrics for batters and pitchers each week. We’ll talk numbers and what they mean, and I’ll provide some player-specific notes after each section. The metrics themselves will change on a weekly basis, and we’ll circle back to some of our favorites every few weeks to see what trends we can identify.

Have something you want me to cover in this space or just want to talk baseball? Feel free to reach out on Twitter @mikeMaher with questions or feedback anytime.

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Actual vs. Expected Home Runs – Batters

This week, we’re looking at dingers. More specifically, we’re focusing on actual home runs vs. expected home runs, with the percentage of no doubters thrown in for juxtaposition. Does this tell the whole story for any particular hitter? No, of course not. But it’s an interesting study as we head into the dog days of August. We didn’t include the Mostly Gone and Doubters numbers here, but anything below that isn’t part of the No Doubter percentage is one of the other two categories. Per Statcast, this is how those labels are determined:

  • No Doubters: Out at All 30 Stadiums
  • Mostly Gone: Out at 8 to 29 Stadiums
  • Doubters: Out at 7 Stadiums or Fewer
  • xHR: Ballparks Gone At/30

Now, let’s look at some of the numbers for the batters. This chart is sorted by HR-xHR, with xHR highlighted.

Note: This table is sortable and searchable, so feel free to look around!

Notes

  • Trevor Story leads the way with a -11 HR-xHR. Story is batting .254 with 15 home runs and 17 stolen bases this season. If he had the 26 home runs that his expected numbers indicate, we would be talking about his season with a very different tone.

  • There may be a Rockies theme here. C.J. Cron has a -6 HR-xHR and an 83.30% No Doubter %. Garrett Hampson? -7 and 83.30%. Cron has 18 home runs with 24 expected. Hampson has six home runs against 13 expected.
  • There are a number of players whose actual home runs numbers are surprisingly and significantly higher than their xHR number: Justin TurnerKris BryantAaron Judge, and Mookie Betts. Judge has a No Doubter % of 47.80%, which is actually the highest of the group. Turner's is 30%, Bryant's is 21.10%, and Betts's is all the way down below 20%, at 17.60%.
  • Fernando Tatis Jrhas an HR-xHR number of four, but he has a No Doubter % of 64.50% and 31 home runs against 27 expected home runs. That appears to be more of a result of volume than anything else.
  • DJ LeMahieu and Christian Yelich both have a No Douber % of exactly 0.00%. LeMahieu has seven home runs against six expected home runs, while Yelich has six and five. Both are in the midst of incredibly disappointing seasons.

Actual vs. Expected Home Runs - Pitchers

For pitchers, obviously, we want fewer home runs. So, we want the No Doubter %, Actual HR, and xHR to be lower and the HR-xHR number to be higher. In the chart below, the xHR column is highlighted, while it is sorted by the HR-xHR column.

Now, let's take a look at this chart and then get to some notes below.

Note: This table is sortable and searchable, so feel free to look around!

Notes

  • Robbie Ray is at the top of the HR-xHR leaderboard at four, but his 43.50% No Doubter % on his 23 actual home runs is significant. Ray has resurrected his career this season, but his 1.59 HR/9 is still above his career average of 1.35. Still, fantasy managers will gladly take that when it comes with a sub-3.00 ERA and 159 strikeouts over 130 innings.
  • Lance McCullers Jralso has an HR-xHR of four, but he has only allowed nine actual home runs this season. His HR/9 is a much more palatable 0.74.
  • Here is a lesson about not simply taking these numbers at their face value: Patrick Corbin has an HR-xHR number of three. Do you have any shares of Corbin this season? You would know if you did. He has allowed 27 actual home runs and has a 48.10% No Doubter %, and his HR/9 is a whopping 1.99.
  • Corbin's 27 home runs allowed are second only to Mike Foltynewicz, who leads the league in actual home runs and expected home runs, with 31 and 30, respectively. This also comes with a No Doubter % of 61.30%.
  • The lucky pitchers? Or, at least the pitchers who have significantly fewer home runs allows than expected home runs? Mike Minor and Madison Bumgarner, with an HR-xHR number of -6.
  • Lance Lynn has only allowed 10 home runs this season, but eight of those home runs have been no-doubters, oddly enough.
  • Framber Valdez has allowed seven home runs but has a No Doubter % of just 14.30% to go with four expected home runs for an HR-xHR of three. Valdez has an incredibly strong 0.80 HR/9 and does a good job of keeping the ball on the ground while simultaneously limiting hard contact.

That's all for this week, friends. See someone above you'd like to talk more about, or just have a general question? Feel free to reach out on Twitter @mikeMaher anytime.

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Mike Maher is an editor and featured writer at FantasyPros and BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive, follow him on Twitter @MikeMaherand read some Eagles news at his Philadelphia Eagles blog, The Birds Blitz.

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